1. 5 Questions to Help You Find a Job You Love

    Sometimes I wish I could call someone and ask ‘what should I do with my life’? Wouldn’t it be great to have someone else tell you, if you do A, B, and C, you will feel happy, fulfilled and everything will work out? Wouldn’t it be great to have certainty related to your future, professionally and personally? Let’s be honest, I would be rich if I could be that person for others! What a gift that would be. Unfortunately, I have not figured how to precisely answer those questions for myself much less for other people. I have, though, identified a few key questions that I think are worth asking yourself if you are interested in finding a career that feels less like a job and more like a passion.

    1. What does your ideal day look like? Your ideal week? In answering this question, think about whether or not you like to have your time structured or be more autonomous. Do you like to work alone or with people? Do you perform better if you leave your house? While you might not always get to choose your ideal day as part of your job, you can certainly seek out pieces of your ideal day in different roles that you consider.
    1. Before you retire, what do you want to be known for professionally and personally? What is your professional reputation right now? Do you want to change, expand or vary it? Sometimes thinking ahead and visualizing yourself at the end of your career can help to put your values, goals and objectives into perspective. Looking back on the bigger picture of your professional life can often refocus you on what is important to you and help you pass over things that aren’t.
    1. What do you most enjoy learning about? Thinking about? Talking about? Do you prefer to learn in a classroom environment or from a textbook? What topics do you love talking about? While not every person who loves race cars, can or should work in the racing industry, reflecting on what it is about race cars that you love and trying to surround yourself with others who have similar passions can help to make you feel more engaged and excited about your own professional life.
    1. What emotion or sensation do you associate with success: Happiness? Excited? Proud? Stress-free? You answer to this question may determine what type of work you seek out and how often you hope to change your work. If you are someone that likes to be excited and constantly stimulated, you will likely benefit from a fast-paced, diverse job. If you consider your ideal job to be stress-free, then you will likely want a constant, low-intensity work environment. Departments and companies change, so while a job might have started as a good match for you, over time, it might become something else. It is important to continually check-in with yourself about how your work environment is affecting your emotions.
    1. What are you willing to give up? Continuing with the question above, if you are someone that seeks out fast-paced work environments, then you will likely give up a degree of control in your schedule and place of work. If you are someone who prefers to be in charge of your schedule and be an autonomous worker, then you will likely give up opportunities that exist in larger corporations because they are typically more bureaucratic. A person once told me it is not comparing the pro’s that makes a decision for someone but rather comparing the cons. I thought that this was great advice because in the end, whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, it is the cost of a decision to which a person pays the most attention to and remembers the longest.

    Answers to these questions are not simple and often take time to work through. In truth, over the course of my career, my answers to these questions have changed. I do not think that they are stagnant or simple. Answers to these questions will not tell you what title or position you should seek out. However, they will help you to identify what role might be most likely to lead to a feeling of professional fulfillment. I recommend reviewing these questions on a yearly basis or when you feel a transition is coming. Reflecting on where you have been, where you are and where you hope to go in your professional path always behooves you and helps you to make informed decisions.

    *This article was first published on Scoop Charlotte on September 12, 2016. See here for the original article.

  2. Finding a Job You Love on the Charlotte Today Show

    Watch Rebecca talk about Finding a Job You Love on the Charlotte Today Show

  3. Preparing Your Family for School to Start

    If you are anything like me, 4th of July festivities are a distant memory. The family’s red, white and blue outfits that I spent most of June picking out will not be worn again for another year (assuming they even fit then), and all of the excitement related to fireworks and sparklers has since been forgotten. Instead, as I look at my calendar, I notice that the middle of August is quickly approaching and that September 1st is just around the corner. I get lost in thoughts about how hot it is and how I am practically melting when I walk from my car to my front door. And then, it hits like a punch in the stomach…it is August 1st…that means school is starting soon…really soon…that month soon! Just like that, I am lost in thought again about how neither my kids nor I am ready for school and how none of us want the summer to end. In the spirit of planning ahead, I want to share my top 3 tips on how to prepare for the end of summer and the beginning of the next school year. Transitioning back to school is never easy, but following these recommendations can help to make it as smooth as possible.

    #1 – Get back on a schedule early

    My # 1 tip for transitioning back to school for kids of any age is to get back on a schedule early…. Like now. Waking up before the bus is not easy or, honestly, fun for anyone. However, practice can help. Decide as a family that you are all going to start your school morning routine one or two weeks before school actually starts. Wake up on time, eat breakfast, brush teeth, pack your bag, etc. Then, instead of getting on the bus or into the carpool lane, leave your house and do something else. Whether it is going to a park, a museum or work, following through with the ins-and-outs of the morning routine in advance can help the entire family to prevent (hopefully) major meltdowns on the actual first day of school.

    #2 – Reach out to school friends

    My #2 tip for transition back to school is to reconnect with school friends, especially those in your child’s class. During the summer, families often go their separate ways. Some families travel, some kids go to the pool, others go to camp. Regardless of where your child has been and what your family has done this summer, seeing familiar faces before the first day of school and reconnecting with peers can help to reduce anxiety your child has about seeing people for the first time. Everyone has questions about whom they will be friends with and whether or not others have changed; having a familiar face waiting for you when you get off the bus on the first day of school is something everyone benefits from.

    #3 – Choose your words wisely

    My #3 tip for transitioning back to school is to make sure that you set the tone in your house positively. Regardless of how you really feel about your child’s teacher, whether or not you think middle school is going to be hard, or even if you would prefer your child to have gotten schedule A versus B, make sure that you choose words carefully. Your child will hear the messages you send, verbally and nonverbally, loud and clear. I also highly recommend sitting down with your kids and asking them how they feel about the upcoming year. What are they excited about? Nervous about? What are their goals, both academically and socially? The more conversation and communication before the school year starts, the more likely it is that your family will have the skills it needs to supportively move forward if something difficult does arise at some point in the year.

    In the end, the transition from summer to school is both tough and thrilling. Taking time to prepare and become more aware of the changes that lie ahead will only behoove you and your family as the inevitable end of summer vacation arrives.

    *This article was first published on Scoop Charlotte on August 1st, 2016. See here for the original publication.

  4. Can You Train an Infant to Sleep?

    Anyone who has a newborn knows what it is like to lose sleep… a lot of sleep. Anyone who has a newborn knows that in the middle of the night when you are stumbling to your infant’s room with a bottle in hand, you wonder, when will my child sleep through the night? When will I avoid seeing the numbers 1:00 or 3:30 when it is still dark outside? You hope that it will happen soon, but in truth, you have no idea. The uncertainty of the night is so much worse than the increased need for coffee in the morning and constant strong urges to nap under your desk at work. I have often wondered whether or not you can sleep train a baby. We teach infants to eat solids, toddlers to use a potty, and adolescents to drive on the right side of the road, but can we teach babies to sleep?

    According to a recent study by researchers in Australia, it is Ok to let your baby ‘cry it out.’ The article published by CNN (see here) reports that kids whose parents let them ‘cry it out’ went to sleep 15 minutes faster after 3 months than those whose parents did not let their babies cry until falling back asleep. The article also reports that kids who cried in bed showed no later signs of physiological distress in comparison to kids who did not cry in bed. In other words, you cannot hurt your child by letting him/her ‘cry it out.’ It was reading this article that got me interested in what exactly ‘sleep training’ entails and how I go about doing it.

    As I googled ‘sleep training Charlotte’, I came across Jackie Campbell’s company Infant Sleep Solutions. I immediately set up a time to talk with Jackie and learn the ins-and-outs of how she gets babies to sleep! In our first meeting, Jackie explained to me that, “babies are creatures of habit and consistency is key!” Jackie told me that the process of getting all babies to sleep is the same even though all babies are different. My immediate response was, no way, that seems so counter-intuitive! Jackie told me that by keeping the routine the same every night, parents can signal their babies to sleep via nightly bathes, swaddling, sufficient amount of ounces and familiar sounds. Jackie explained to me that she has worked with over 750 families and that she has successfully reached her goal of training babies to sleep 12 hours (straight!) with all those that followed her program. 12 hours!!! I have not gotten 12 hours of sleep in longer than I can remember, maybe even ever; have you?

    While I was skeptical and believed what Jackie was telling me was too good to be true, I decided I would test her methods out on my own infant who was 2 months at the time and definitely not sleeping through the night. I was pretty much at my wits-end with work and no sleep, so I felt that I had nothing to lose. Jackie told me that her program includes an 8-week routine and that each week I would decrease the number of feedings per night for my baby and increase the number of ounces per feeding. She said that each night in the week is the same and that creativity in schedule was not to be rewarded. In my discussions with Jackie, I learned that she often meets with families before the baby arrives and starts a relationship with them during the baby’s first week of life. If only I had known!

    Regardless, I set out on my 8-week routine with high hopes and a desire to be the 751st family to have their baby sleep 12 hours straight. During week 1 I actually had to wake my baby up more often than I was doing at that time in order to re-train her. I was not pleased with having to set my alarm again as if she were a newborn and needed to be fed every 3 hours. However, I had committed to the program and was going to follow directions as closely to a ‘t’ as I could. In week 2, my baby got an ear infection, and I thought the whole program was lost. Jackie told me to stay as close to the guidelines as possible and carry on with the training. Week 3 and 4 were a blur, and then in week 5 I had to get rid of my baby’s pacifier at night and during the day…. That was a rough week to say the least! In week 6, my baby stopped being swaddled, and in week 7, we put two diapers on her because she kept peeing through her clothes. Week 8 finally arrived, and I only fed my baby at 7 pm and then again at 7 am. For the beginning half of the week, my baby woke up and cried a few times. It was really tough not to go in and soothe her. However, I kept hearing Jackie’s voice in the back of my head…. Follow the program, and you will get the results you want!

    I am here to tell you that sleep training works. At 4 months, my baby was sleeping from 7 am to 7 pm and is still following that schedule. Sure there are days she wakes up early, but I try not to go into her room before 7 am for fear that I will ruin it all. While I was skeptical, to say the least, of Jackie’s program and the concept of sleep training in general, I learned through personal experience that it really is possible to train your child to sleep through the night. Whether you are the parent of a newborn or a young infant, I would highly suggest considering a sleep-training program, for in the end, we are all better parents when we have had a full night’s sleep!

    If you want to learn more about Jackie and her company, Infant Sleep Solutions, you can go to www.infantsleepsolutions.com. She just published a sleep training manual and also offers babysitting and nannying services.

  5. Signs of a Disordered Eating Problem and How to Help

    We all seem to find things about ours bodies that we do not like. Many of us know the unhappiness and self-loathing that a poor body image can cause for ourselves.

    But, how do you know, when you, your friend or loved one has veered into a danger zone? How do you know when it is time to be concerned about his or her negative body image, low self-esteem or disordered eating behaviors? And, once you have decided that you need to do something to help this person, what do you do? All of these questions are difficult to ask or think about. , And they are scary. But, knowing that your friend or loved one is hurting and that his or her body image, self-esteem and eating habits are not healthy is emotionally and spiritually overwhelming.

    Below, I list some general signs of a person who is struggling with body image, self-esteem or eating problem as well as some of the best things that you can do to help that person.

    What to take note of….

    1. Poor Body Image. Notice if the person often engages in negative self-talk such as “I’m so fat” or “I have no self-control.” Notice if the person consistently interprets others’ comments as negative judgments of him or herself. Negative or obsessive thoughts about body size and body insecurity are important signs to look for.
    2. Wanting to Eat Alone. If your friend or loved one has a fear of eating in public, it is important for you and for them to question why this fear exists. Is the person self-conscious about food intake in relation to his or her body? What is underlying the person’s anxiety? For people struggling with disordered eating, food in and of itself can provoke anxiety, so eating in public is even more anxiety provoking than eating alone.
    3. Focusing on ‘Safe’ Foods. Does your friend or loved one label foods? Are certain foods ‘healthy’ and others ‘bad’? If you have a sense that your friend or loved one has labeled foods as ‘safe’ or ‘unhealthy’ then it is important to consider where these labels came from. Notice whether your friend or loved one connects the category of food (good versus bad) with his or her self-worth e.g. “I was bad today because I ate a bad food.”
    4. Excessive exercise. This one is difficult because defining what ‘excessive’ is can be tricky, especially when talking about active adolescents and athletes. The key questions to ask yourself are: Does my friend or loved one panic if he or she misses a day of exercise? And, will he or she exercise even when sick or injured? Exercise can be a compensatory behavior in response to food, so noticing the role that it plays in your friend or loved one’s life is important.
    5. Eating Rituals. Does your friend or loved one approach every meal in a regimented way? Does he or she cut food into very small pieces? Arrange items on a plate in a certain pattern? Always leave the same item uneaten? Eating rituals can indicate attempts to eat less as well as obsessive food related behaviors.
    6. Feeling Cold and Fine Body Hair. Feeling cold is often a symptom of low body fat and malnutrition. Choosing to wear heavy sweaters on warm days and always wanting to keep a jacket on inside the house are common indicators that a person’s body is having difficulty maintaining warmth. Additionally, people who are restricting their caloric intake often develop a thin film of hair that is soft and downy on his or her arms and other parts of the body. This hair is known as lanugo and emerges after extended periods of malnutrition.

    If you notice any of these signs of a body image, self-esteem or disordered eating problem, Here are some tips of how to help:

    1. Trust Your Gut. If you are concerned, listen to yourself. You might not have clarity on what exactly feels unhealthy about your friend or loved one, but if you are worried, do not ignore that feeling.
    2. Educate Yourself. Learn as much as you can. Read books, articles, and brochures. Try your best to distinguish facts about your friend’s disordered eating with inaccurate ideas that he or she has. You can learn more at the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website.
    3. Be Honest, Caring, and Firm. The best thing that you can do for your friend or loved one is to talk openly with him or her about your worries. Your sharing your concerns indicates how much you care for him or her. You do not need to police the person or try to take responsibility for his or her actions. Instead, compliment the person’s personality, accomplishments and successes while also expressing to him or her what you have observed and why you are worried.
    4. Seek Help. No one can force someone else to change his or her attitudes and behaviors or to engage in help. Once you have openly and honestly shared your concerns with your friend or loved one, tell someone else. Ask others in this person’s life to support you and this person in taking the problem seriously and addressing it. If you can, seek the help of a professional who has experience working with others with negative body image and self-esteem. Asking the professional to speak to your friend about your concerns might help the person to take your worries more seriously. Many people worry about having a fall-out in their relationships and avoid confronting their friends and family about eating habits concerns. While this is always a risk, your loved one’s long term health is the priority; you and he/she can begin to repair the relationship once he/she is healthy again.

    These symptoms can arise for any number of reasons including (but not limited to) depression, anxiety, bullying, trauma, and/or unhealthy relationships. Whether you are the person struggling with a body image, self-esteem or disordered eating problem or you know someone who is, support and help are available. Recovery is possible. .

    Please feel free to contact me with questions about yourself or others at any time.

  6. Is Social Media Really All That Bad?

    In my last blog article, I discussed the numerous downsides of social media. However, social media is not all negative! Even though the downsides I mentioned are real, research indicates that:

    • Students who experience low self-esteem can take advantage of social media and its capability to bond them with others in order to pull themselves up from slumps in their mood.
    • Social media can help with socialization. Studies indicate that introverted adolescents can actually gain social skills by using social media.

    Social media has a role, a growing role at that, in our lives and futures. It behooves each of us to understand the effect of social media on our thoughts, emotions and behaviors and to become more aware of both the negative and positive effects it is having on us.

    A few things you can do to combat the effects of social media are:

    • Remember that what we see in a picture or post is the ‘idealized’ version of the other’s reality. Appreciate that the photo like was edited and that the scenario likely was staged.
    • Be careful to not ‘over-share’ or disregard your own privacy filters. If you would not be comfortable telling someone something face-to-face, then it likely is not appropriate to say over social media either.
    • Bring awareness to the amount of time you spend on social media each day. Do you use Facebook as a distraction at work? Do you open up Instagram when you are at a red light or while you are at the dinner table? Setting limits for yourself, your team at work and your family regarding social media use will help to
      • Limit the decrease in productivity you experience because of it
      • Reinforce in-person connection and interaction by focusing on the people in front of you rather than those on your screen
      • Help you to monitor social media’s addictive nature and effects on your life
    • Lastly, if you are concerned or do not know where to start, try taking a day or week hiatus from social media and see how you do. See what else you can fill your time with and monitor your mood. Are you happier? Feel more connected? The only way you will ever really know the effect of social media on you is if you try to go with out it.

    The key to using social media is being aware of the affects it is having on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Once you start to notice trends in how it affects you, both negatively and positively, you can more consciously choose how to navigate your relationship with social media.

    If you want to learn more about social media and its affect on us, you can watch my segment on the Charlotte Today Show in March available here.

  7. The Downsides of Social Media on the Charlotte Today Show

    Watch Rebecca talk about the affects of social media on the Charlotte Today Show


  8. What Is So Bad About Social Media?

    Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to find and connect with just about anyone – from our neighbors, coworkers, cousins, or elementary school friends.

    Browsing these sites can make us feel connected to a larger community, but the easy, casual connection and chat in this digital space can also have its downsides.

    • Downside #1 – False Sense of Connection
      • Research indicates that social media sites can make it more difficult for us to distinguish meaningful relationships from the more casual relationships formed via social media. Often times, people falsely believe that connection is defined by the number of ‘friends’ they have on Facebook or the number of ‘followers’ they have on Instagram.
      • In a recent study, college students who use social media sites more frequently or on a daily basis agreed that the number of ‘likes’ is an important number. Some students said that the number of likes or retweets that they have is a meaningful measure of acceptance within their group of peers.
    • Downside #2 – Lack of Privacy
      • It should come as no surprise that social networking sites encourage people to be more public about their personal lives than they are in person. Whether by sharing intimate details or intimate photos, people tend to bypass the privacy filters that they use when talking to others in person.
      • And, to top it off, whatever someone posts is available indefinitely, so the lack of privacy filter is stamped in time. What seemed like a funny post of you taking a shot at a party in college, may not be so funny when your employer is doing a background check on you and you are not offered the job because of it.
    • Downside #3 – Decreased Productivity
      • Let’s face it, people are distracted by social media. Whether you are scrolling through Facebook instead of writing a paper in college or checking your Twitter account in between meetings at work, social media takes up time that you could have otherwise used for school or work – or connecting in-person. Interestingly, one study reported that Facebook shaves 1.5% off office productivity while another study claimed that companies lost $2.2 billion a year due to the use of social media.
      • In a recent study, college students noted that social media sites can get in the way of schoolwork, especially for procrastinators. Many students reported that they find themselves logging onto a social media site when they should be studying and then losing track of time only to realize they have been on a social media site for hours.
    • Downside #4 – Stress
      • Have you ever heard the expression FOMO? Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a phenomenon that occurs when you feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing, attend every event, or share every life experience. It can evoke anxiety and cause social media users to question why everyone is “having fun without them.” Recent surveys have found that people feel insecure after using Pinterest because they feel that they aren’t crafty or creative enough. Similarly, Facebook and Twitter can make people feel like they aren’t successful or smart enough.
      • Posts on social media many times present an idealized version of what’s happening, what something looks like, or how things are going. This can lead people to constantly compare themselves to others and think less of their own lives. If things are going particularly well for people in one’s newsfeed and you’re having a rough day, of course this will likely negatively affect your mood.
      • In 2012, a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users, 53% of whom said social media had changed their behavior; 51% said it was negative behavior because of decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others.
    • Downside #5 – Addictive
      • Social media is addictive. Studies show that 63% of Americans log on to Facebook daily, and 40% log on multiple times each day. People use the site for a wide range of reasons. Yet, social media usually serves, on some level, the same basic purposes: distraction and boredom relief. “Likes” and comments are positive reinforcement for posting information, making it difficult for a person to stop. Researchers have found this so common that they created a scale to measure this addiction; it is called the Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.
    • Downside #6 – Cyber-Bullying
      • Cyber-bullying is now the most common type of bullying. 1 in 4 kids report that it has happened to them, and 43% of kids report that they have witnessed cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, the anonymity afforded by social media often encourages people to take greater bullying risks and say more negative things than they would in person. These online attacks are not a light matter; many kids and adults have been driven to suicide because of their experiences.

    In the end, social media has its costs and often negatively impacts our lives. However, it is not all negative! Stay tuned for my next blog article on the positive aspects of social media as well as some tips on how to address these downsides.

  9. Overcoming 5 Common Overeating Obstacles

    Do you struggle with overeating?

    Do you feel like you are always snacking?

    Do you tend to eat more at night than during the day?

    I spoke on the Charlotte Today Show recently about the five common overeating obstacles that many of us struggle with. (Please view the full show segment here.)

    In this post, I discuss each obstacle, reasons why it might be happening, and possible solutions to help you to overcome it.

    Obstacle 1: Mindless Munching

    • Why does it happen?
      • Mindless eating or munching is when you eat without thinking about what you are doing.
      • It happens when you put food in your mouth, but are not present to the action. Maybe you are eating because you are bored? Eating while multi-tasking?
      • Sometimes it happens when you are eating out of routine or habit instead of hunger.
    • Possible Solutions
      • First and foremost, become present. Notice your bodily sensations and emotions. Notice whether you are feeling hunger or feeling something else. Bring the attention of all five of your senses to the act of eating. Notice how each bite tastes, smells and feels in your mouth. Eating in this way will help you to stop the endless munching pattern.
      • We all love “finishing things” – especially snack foods. Instead of eating until you finish the bag of popcorn or chips, put one portion aside and finish just that portion.

    Obstacle 2: Afternoon/Evening Temptations

    • Why does it happen?
      • It is the end of your work day, and you are tired. And when you are tired, you are more vulnerable – sometimes, more vulnerable to food. Your mind seeks out foods that are easily digestible such as simple carbohydrates, even though they are not the most nutritious or filing. Also, if you have restricted your caloric intake or been too busy to eat throughout the day, you are likely malnourished and over-hungry by the time you get home at night.
      • Afternoon eating can also relate to loneliness at night. Are you eating to fill a void left by a lack of personal contact? Coming home to an empty house night after night can be lonely, and often, people turn to food to keep them company, to “fill them up” and to entertain them in the evenings.
      • Lastly, there is a medical condition named Night Eating Syndrome, which is often associated with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. This medical condition leads people to eat throughout the night and even eat while sleeping.
    • Possible Solutions
      • Make sure to nourish yourself by eating wholesome meals and snacks throughout the day. If you restrict yourself during the day, it is extremely likely that you will over-eat at night.
      • If you are hungry at night, eat! Just be more mindful of where or how you are eating at night. Do not eat in front of the TV or the computer where you are not paying attention to what you are putting into your body. Listening to your body’s hunger cues is the foundation of mindful eating. And, you cannot truly hear or understand your body’s cues if you are not tuned into to them because you are distracted by something else.
      • Additionally, if you are feeling anxious, lonely, or depressed, work to identify the feeling and become aware of its impact on you. Eating at night to distract yourself from an emotion will not take the emotion away.
      • And lastly, seek medical help for Night Eating Syndrome if you think you could have it. Please start by contacting your primary care physician for more information.

    Obstacle 3: Non-stop Snacking

    • Why does it happen?
      • Are you eating full meals? Are you hungry and not listening to your body? Both of these can lead to non-stop snacking.
      • Non-stop snacking can also relate to mindless eating. Have you snacked all day, but not paid any attention to the food you have been putting into your mouth?
      • Or, are you trying to distract yourself from other emotions or sensations by eating?
    • Possible Solutions
      • First, try not to eat ‘on the go’. If you are going to eat a meal or snack, do it; and do it well. Whether you are standing or sitting, do not type on the computer or gaze at your phone. Focus on the physical sensations as the food enters your mouth; focus on all the tastes and smells that it involves. If you do this, you will end up eating less and enjoying the meal more.

    Obstacle 4: If You See It, You Eat It

    • Why does it happen?
      • Research indicates that seeing nearby food triggers a neurological impulse to dig in regardless of how hungry you are. Thus, if you see it, you eat it because it is a reflex; and a reflex is even more ingrained than a habit.
    • Possible Solutions
      • Slow down. The brain needs something external to focus on, so when you see food, it focuses on that. Become aware of what your brain is telling you regarding your hunger cues versus the need to attend to an external stimulus. You can try to switch your attention and focus on something else that will engage you. If you are truly hungry, you will know it regardless of whether you see the food or not.
      • Here’s an out-of-the-box idea: try eating with chopsticks instead of a fork and knife. Chopsticks force you to slow down the process of eating and give you time to notice how full you are feeling.

    Obstacle 5: Stress Cravings

    • Why does it happen?
      • Emotional eating is when you eat to change the way that you feel. It is eating regardless of whether or not you are physically hungry.
      • Eating when you are stressed often happens because it distracts you from you thoughts and physical experience of anxiety or feelings of unsettledness.
    • Possible Solutions
      • When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that lead you to seek calming influences. Food can often be a source of calm, so you seek it out when you are anxious or overwhelmed even if you are not hungry. Instead of using food as your calming influence, try doing something relaxing like yoga or deep breathing to address the feeling you are having.
      • In the end, know that food will not solve stress and the emotion will be there regardless of what you eat or when you eat if you do not address it outright. So, take care of yourself in other ways, maybe by taking a walk outside, calling a friend, listening to music, taking a bubble bath. . If you are still hungry afterwards then eat something nutritious and healthy.

    Overeating is common and something that we all struggle with in one-way or another.

    Your work is learning to listen to your body especially your hunger and fullness cues. It’s difficult, and it takes practice, time, and attention. But, learning to eat mindfully and feed our bodies what they want and need is a lifelong goal that we can each take steps towards starting today.

  10. Infertility & Depression

    Alice Domar, PhD of the Domar Center in Boston, Massachusetts, has built a career studying and treating people struggling with infertility. In her book, Conquering Infertility, she discusses a relationship that defines some people’s struggle – the relationship between infertility and depression. Domar explains that the question of whether or not depression is related to infertility is ‘age old’. Throughout history, the infertility community has gone back and forth between whether infertility is due to psychological factors or whether infertility is due to physiological factors or some combination of the two. Between the 1940’s and the1960’s, the psychiatric community believed that psychological factors were the sole cause of infertility; many thought that women had trouble getting pregnant because they were more ‘conflicted’ about motherhood than women who did not have trouble getting pregnant. Any woman who has struggled with infertility will tell you that she is not conflicted at all about her deep-rooted desires for a child. More often than not, she has never been more certain about anything in her life.

    This belief that infertility was psychological shifted when new medical technology was able to identify physiological causes of infertility including but not limited to tubal blockages, signs of early menopause, ovulation difficulties and issues related to sperm count and mobility. At about this time, it was believed that infertility was 100% a physical problem.

    Then, in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, research considered the role of anxiety in infertility, and in 1990’s and early 2000’s, research looked at the role of depression in infertility. Both of these lines of work provided evidence that infertility is not solely a physiological disease. That being said, the research showed that depression, not anxiety, was the main psychological experience that led to infertility. Women with a history of depression symptoms are nearly twice as likely to report subsequent infertility than are women who do not have a history of depression, and up to 17% of women struggling with infertility meet a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis. These statics are staggering. They show that the relationship between depression and infertility is bidirectional, such that depression can lead to infertility, and infertility can lead to depression.

    The same is true for men. It has been found that depressed men have lower sperm counts than non-depressed men. Other studies show that men with previously normal sperm counts are 8 times more likely to have low sperm counts after a year or two of infertility.

    Domar and her colleagues have dedicated their research and careers to showing that when depression and anxiety are addressed, not only do people’s quality of lives improve, but so too can their rates of pregnancy.

    This finding is so important for all of the women and men out there struggling with infertility because of what it means for their treatment plans. Depression is not something that can just be ‘turned on or off,’ so seeking professional help is a critical component of fertility treatments.

    For those men and women out there struggling with infertility, I recommend reaching out to a professional for help. If you are feeling frustrated, sad, lonely, hopeless, worthless, guilty or irritable, counseling whether individual, couples or group can help. It never hurts to meet with a professional who is experienced and has worked with others dealing with infertility. If you don’t know who to contact, ask your doctor for recommendations or look on the RESOLVE website. RESOLVE is the national infertility association, and infertility specialists are often listed both by type and location.

Rebecca in the Press

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